To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  1 November 1985 (USA)
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Reviews: 216 user | 83 critic

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Chance (as William L. Petersen)
Ruth Lanier (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Thomas Bateman (as Robert Downey)
Michael Greene ...
Jack Hoar ...
Valentin de Vargas ...
Judge Filo Cedillo (as Val DeVargas)
Michael Chong ...


Two cops in Los Angeles try to track down the vicious criminal Eric Masters. Then, one of them is killed by Masters and the other one swears revenge no matter what the cost. After that, the hunt becomes an ob- session and the law he once swore to uphold becomes meaningless to him. Written by Harald Mayr <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Detroit, Chicago, New York, Miami were like this! This is THE CITY OF ANGELS! This is L.A. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

1 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir y morir en Los Ángeles  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$967,312 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The chain of events that led to William Petersen and John Pankow's casting in the film began when director William Friedkin decided to not bother trying to cast established film stars due to the project's relatively low budget ($6 million). Friedkin was born and began his career in Chicago and was familiar with fellow Chicagoan Petersen's work, and with him in mind for the lead role of Chance, he called Petersen in for a reading of the script and immediately offered him the part. When Petersen came in to accept the role, he brought Pankow because the two men were longtime friends and had acted in many Chicago-area projects, and told Friedkin he thought Pankow would be perfect for the role of Vukovich. The director ran a scene with Pankow and then cast him on the spot. See more »


In the original 1985 theater release, there was a large shadow of the crew and equipment visible on the ground as John Vukovich approaches the warehouse with Chinese character. See more »


Max Waxman: I am straight with Masters. I would never fuck with Masters.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Right at the end, after the credits, there is a shot of William Petersen's face See more »


Referenced in Doogie Howser, M.D.: To Live and Die in Brentwood (1991) See more »


To Live and Die in L.A.
Performed by Wang Chung
Produced by Tony Swain & Steve Jolley
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Non-Stop Action And Politically Incorrect Police Story
4 June 2005 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In Los Angeles, the secret agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) loses his partner and friend Jim Hart (Michael Greene) in an investigation of counterfeit, two days before the retirement of Jim. The agent John Vukovich (John Pankow) is assigned to work with Chance, who is obsessed to capture Eric 'Rick' Masters (Willem Dafoe), the criminal responsible for the death of Jim. Chance risks his partner and his own career, trying to arrest Rick.

"To Live and Die in L.A" is an excellent non-stop action movie, having an excellent pacing and being a politically incorrect police story. All the characters are amoral, dirty and sordid, and it is impossible to feel sympathy for any of them. There are excellent scenes, such as the car chase in the streets of Los Angeles, or the surprising lethal shooting in the end of the story. The DVD shows a commercial alternative ending of the story, fortunately not accepted by the director William Friedkin. The unpredictable and credible end as it is makes the great difference of this outstanding movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Viver e Morrer em Los Angeles" ("To Live and Die in Los Angeles")

54 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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